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Murmured ConversationsA Treatise on Poetry and Buddhism by the Poet-Monk Shinkei$
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Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804748636

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804748636.001.0001

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Renga Rules and Buddhist Precepts:

Renga Rules and Buddhist Precepts:

The Question of Morality and Freedom

Chapter:
(p.148) Forty-Four Renga Rules and Buddhist Precepts:
Source:
Murmured Conversations
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804748636.003.0045

This chapter focuses on morality and freedom as they relate to renga and the renga rules against similarity and clashing within specified intervals. Shinkei argues that “these rules represent discriminations made for the sake of convenience upon a base of nondiscrimination.” In other words, the predetermined procedures make the activity possible by specifying what is allowed or forbidden at each point of the 100-verse sequence. However, such procedures are unable to cover every eventuality because renga, as an art, enshrines the specific temporality of its occurrence, an extemporaneous composition that honors the distinct minds of the participants and the possibility that the unexpected might happen each time someone responds to a maeku composed by someone else. In comparing renga rules to Buddhist precepts, Shinkei cites several instances of license among sages intent on pursuing their aim of mental liberation even if they violate mundane morality and social decorum. He also asserts that the rules/precepts are an important means of attaining the goal of wisdom.

Keywords:   Shinkei, morality, freedom, renga, renga rules, similarity, clashing, Japanese poetry, Buddhist precepts, wisdom

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